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Lessons from the Grocery Store

Whew! As always the summer started off in a sprint. But my head was about ten paces behind and slowing down more and more each day.

Decompression. It feels like my feet are 25 pound blocks, my body is moving against a strong wind, and my head is so far in the clouds, I could not tell you what day it was.

Decompression can feel a bit like depression - and that is scary for me and those around me who have seen me in my dark times. But I have a new perspective on decompression and it seems to be working this year.

I am not depressed; I am reflective. Instead of asking myself what I have to do today... I wonder How do I want to feel today? Grocery shopping will still occur but the associated feeling will be mine to choose.

Let's use the grocery store: It is 4th of July weekend which means lots of people from elsewhere are trying to find the ketchup and mustard aisle. I could choose to be annoyed at their circling of the store but I will not. Instead, I want to feel at ease when I shop today. So, I will put on a baseball hat and a mask, and one headphone. I can listen to my playlist and be-bop my way through the aisles, suggesting "Aisle 2" to those who continue to wander. My ease is in my control. How long it takes to shop is not. So I will make the best of the easy experience.

The other option would be to give into my 25# leaden feet and stomp through the store, moaning at the woman who is agonizing over which tortilla chip to get only to see her in the nut butter aisle next. We are going different directions. She has nice wine, I have bacon. She has salmon, I have a 12 pack ... who is she to do the 4th better than me. This is my town. I could come from a place of deprivation... but I choose decompression.

To decompress is to let the air valve go, to release the tension, to unwind.

At the store, I choose to take a deep breath and focus on my list, my shopping experience, and my plan for the 4th, which included two family movies, a run in the rain, and early to bed. In other words, it was perfect for the rainy day it was for my family.

I have a choice when I walk into any experience. So do you.

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From our All-School Assembly, February 28, 2024 Written by Nell Dailey “On this rainy day in February, I want to share a story with you. So sit back, put your phones away, and give me your attention.


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